Role and modulation of maternal transcripts during the first cleavage divisions in bovine embryos

Authors: Orozco Lucero, Ernesto
Advisor: Sirard, Marc-AndréRobert, Claude
Abstract: This work explores the identity, the function, and the regulation of maternal mRNA molecules that drive developmental competence shortly after fertilization in cattle. First of all, by using the model of the time of first zygotic cleavage and assessing the transcriptome of 2-cell embryos, it was possible to determine the molecular fingerprint of extreme levels of developmental competence and select candidate molecules for further monitoring. Data implied that early embryos of variable developmental capacity differ in functions including DNA repair, RNA processing, protein synthesis, and gene expression that are dictated by oocyte-synthesized mRNA. To obtain a functional confirmation, a pair of maternal transcripts (one detected in our previous survey and other related molecule) were knocked-down in oocytes that were further cultured. The effects of ablating these transcription factors were evident before blastocyst formation due to a decrease in cleavage capacity, as well as progression past the 8-cell stage. The molecular analysis of surviving knocked-down embryos suggested that one of these transcription factors is a pivotal orchestrator of the activation of the embryonic genome, a critical developmental window in early embryogenesis. In the last survey, we asked whether the transcription factors of interest are modulated at the translational level. Reporter mRNAs containing either short or long versions of the 3’-UTR sequences of both molecules were injected in zygotes to look at their translational dynamics. Results showed that cis-acting elements located in the 3’-UTRs govern their timely translation and suggested an association between developmental competence and protein synthesis capacity. This led to the notion that these crucial transcription factors are also controlled at the translational level in early embryos. The acquired knowledge was instrumental to define the possible control operated by maternal molecules on embryos at the onset of their development, as well as some of the challenges and potential use of this information in the field of reproductive technologies.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2016
Open Access Date: 24 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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